Court adjourns Maina’s bail variation hearing till Jan. 14

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, adjourned the hearing on Abdulrasheed Maina, ex-Pension Reform chairman’s application for variation of bail conditions, till Jan. 14.

Justice Okon Abang, who gave the ruling, said the decision was to allow the court attend to other matters.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Justice Abang had, on Dec. 18, 2019, adjourned the hearing on the bail variation application till Jan. 13.

Justice Abang had, on Nov. 25, admitted Abdulrasheed Maina to a bail in the sum of N1 billion.

The judge, who gave the ruling, also ordered that Maina must produce two sureties who must be serving senators.

The two lawmakers, according to the judge, must not be standing any criminal trial in any court in the country and must have landed property at Maitama or Asokoro area of Abuja.

He also ruled that the two sureties, who must be prepared for a N500 million bond each, must always be in court with the defendant at each adjourned date.

However, Maina had been unable to meet the bail conditions.

Counsel to Maina, Afam Osigwe, at the resumed hearing on Monday, reminded the judge of the motion dated Dec. 6, 2019 which was filed the same day.

Osigwe said the application was supported by 21 paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Olufemi Awe brought in pursuant of Section 181 of ACJA 2015.

He said the application sought an order of the court to vary the bail conditions granted Maina, which he said were stringent and impossible for him to meet.

“The stringent conditions are evidenced by the inability of the 1st defendant/applicant (Maina) to meet those bail conditions.

“Specifically, the conditions which the 1st defendant/applicant is unable to meet are set out in paragraph four of the affidavit,” he said.

When Justice Abang asked the lawyer to point out those conditions considered stringent, he said that the conditions that Maina must get two serving senators worth N500 million each and that the lawmakers must always appear in court with the defendant were impossible to meet by his client.

He said the senators, who indicated to stand as sureties for Maina, said they neither have property worth N500 million in Maitama or Asokoro area of Abuja.

The judge, however queried why the defendant could not attach evidence to prove to the court effort made so far.

In response, Osigwe said the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS), which serves as land registry in FCT, would not allow any one conduct search on an identified property without producing the original title document.

The judge expressed worry over the decision of the defendant counsel not to fulfill any application to counter the EFCC on issues raised against varying Maina’s bail conditions.

“Although the defendant counsel applied for case transfer, they should have reacted to the issues raised by the prosecution in case the matter was not transferred,” he said.

The lawyer, who urged the court to grant their request, said “it is possible the strategy adopted may not have been the best in the circumstance, but for the court in judicious exercise of its discretion has granted bail.”

He also informed the court that prior to Maina’s bail, the EFCC had confiscated his international passports.

Justice Abang responded that the anti-graft agency told the court that Maina had refused to submit his passports.

Osigwe said: “I am informed by my colleagues that the EFCC has deposited the passports before Hon Justice Kutugi of FCT High Court of Gwagwalada; both the American and Nigerian passports have been deposited.

“And the documents relating with residential permit in Dubai are with EFCC and submitted to High Court of FCT, Gwagwalada.”

Justice Abang, later, adjourned the matter till Jan. 14 for continuation of hearing. (NAN)